With its quiet roads amidst fields of lavender, fine wines to taste, and wonderful food to eat, the Provence region of France is heaven on earth for the itinerant cyclist. Beginning in the village of Vaison la Romaine, we will cycle routes that will include the region’s market towns, wine-making villages and medieval cities. We’ll taste wine in centuries old caves, see Roman antiquities, visit hill-top castles steeped in history and stroll markets at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and others. We’ve been coming here for 40 years and can say there are few places as welcoming to those on a bicycle as this enchanting area of France.

Only Great Explorations:

  • Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences
  • A ride you will never forget: the gorge du nesque, one of the most beautiful rides in France
  • Order off the menu at restaurants you won’t find in guidebooks, including Babet in Vaison le Romaine
  • Distinctive, charming hotels too small for larger groups
  • We design and operate our own trips so there are only good surprises

Conde Nast Traveler writes:
“Don’t blame Peter Mayle, of A Year in Provence notoriety: The southeasternmost corner of France has never been short of visitors. Its cobalt Luberon Mountains, seductive coastline, rippling lavender fields, and honey-stone hilltop villages have inspired everyone from Nostradamus to Van Gogh. The Romans settled in Provence in the second century B.C.; even the Vatican transplanted here from dazzling Rome in the fourteenth century. In fact, given its extraordinary history and bewitching natural beauty, you might call Provence’s popularity a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Location

Avignon

Avignon, France

Starting Location

Vaison-la-Romaine

Vaison-la-Romaine, France

Day 1-2

Mazan

Mazan, France

Day 3-4

Gordes

Gordes, France

End Location

What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?

INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP

Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides
Support vehicle
6 nights lodging
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners but 1
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
All baggage transportation

Not Included

Bike rental

Particulars

EVENT DATES

2024

Apr 28-May 4
May 17-23
Jun 10-16
Aug 18-24
Sep 8-14
Sep 15-21

2025

Apr 27-May 3
May 16-22
Jun 9-15
Aug 17-23
Sep 7-13
Sep 14-20

Trip can start any date. Self-guided and custom trips also available. Call or email for details.

TRIP SIZE

4-16 participants

TOTAL DAYS

7 days / 6 nights

ARRIVE / DEPART

Vaison-La-Romaine / Avignon

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Moderate
30-60+ km / 20-40 miles daily including century options on 2 days (longer options available)
Van supported

TERRAIN

3 days gently rolling, 3 days are moderately rolling

COST

Land Cost:
US $3,650
Includes 6B/2L/5D

Single Supplement:
US $920

Bike Rental:
US $280

E-Bike Rental:
US $480*

*E-bikes are generally available but are on an ‘on request basis ‘ and will be confirmed on receipt of your booking registration. Rental rates include delivery to the first hotel and pick-up from the last hotel. E-bikes provided are the best rentals available in the region. Our regular fleet of hybrid and race bikes are fun to ride and light and fast, but if having an e-bike will make your trip, we’ll do our best to provide. E-bike rentals are non-refundable. 

Please note: Final itinerary is subject to revision; any changes made are done so in an attempt to provide the best possible trip given route conditions and available services. Due to the nature of our business and exchange rates, prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are U.S. dollars but we gladly accept payment in Canadian dollars also. Due to cancellations and waiting lists, trip availability fluctuates daily. If you have any questions or would like to confirm space on this trip before making your reservation, please contact us at info@great-explorations.com or by telephone at 604.730.1247.

Getting there
Our trip starts in Vaison-La-Romaine but we meet in Avignon for a transfer to our first hotel.


1

Day 1

Vaison la Romaine

Our guides will greet you at the Avignon TGV train station at 11:20 upon your arrival from Paris. From there our guides will whisk you away to Vaison la Romaine where a picnic lunch awaits. Afterwards, fit bikes and ride a warm up loop of some nearby vineyards, arriving back in Vaison in the late afternoon. There we can visit the Roman ruins and then enjoy a welcome wine reception at the hotel before dinner at a local restaurant. Ride Distance: 42km; 350m 

2

Day 2

Entrechaux, Mollans-sur-Ouvèze & Buis les Baronniers

After a delicious breakfast we will set off on bikes on a delightful ride to Entrechaux which nestles around a hilltop castle in ruins and Mollans-sur- Ouvèze clusters around a high-arched bridge marked on each side by a tower and a tiny chapel. Want a bit more challenge? Continue to Buis les Baronniers, a picturesque village surrounded by lavender fields. Ride Distance: 21km; 280m; 30km; 350m; 55km; 675m

3

Day 3

Vaison le Romain to Mazan

Wind your way among the wine villages of the Dentelles de Montmirail, stopping to explore Sablet, Gigondas, and Vacqueyras. Séguret is an village of artists with charming shops and galleries. We will visit a wine cellar in Gigondas with a convivial host and enjoy lunch at an atmospheric cafe in Beaumes des Venise. Spend the night in Mazan at a charming chateau with extensive grounds and large pool.  Ride Distance: 42km; 360m or 60km; 725m or 72km; 980m

4

Day 4

Mount Ventoux & Gorges du Nesque

Ride across the flank of Mont Ventoux (climbing the summit is an option), a loop to Bedoin and Monieux and back via an extraordinary descent of the Gorge du Nesque. It is one of our favourite rides in all of France. We will dine in the formal dining room of the chateaux and toast to what may have been a favourite ride of your life. Ride Distance: Ride Distance: 40km; 550m or  85km; 1390m or 107km; 2320m 

5

Day 5

Mazan to Gordes

From Mazan, ride south through the pretty villages of Saint-Didier and La Roque-sur-Pernes to Pernes-les-Fontaines; visit the Musee Comtadin du Cycle (cycling museum) with a collection that includes a velocepede from 1870 and one of the best collections of bikes in Europe. Enjoy a coffee at the local bakery and then continue south to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a charming village on the river Sorgue, known for its antique shops. In Fontaine de Vaucluse, stop to view the spring that has fascinated people for centuries and enjoy a picnic prepared by your guides. Then on to Gordes, perhaps the most famous and most beautiful of the villages of the Luberon. Ride Distance: 43km; 525m. Add-on option of 25km; 485m.

6

Day 6

Gordes, Rousillon, Lacoste and Menerbes

Ride a magnificent loop to astonishing Roussillon, just one of les plus beaux villages en France in this region. Then on to Lacoste and the castle of the Marquis de Sade. In Menerbes, stop at a winery that has the largest corkscrew museum in France (and excellent wines to taste). Extend your ride along a bike path that winds through more charming villages. After a wine reception, we will enjoy a festive dinner to celebrate. Bon appetite. Ride Distance: 42km; 650m or 63km; 850m or 80km; 850m

7

Day 7

Departure Day

Transfer to Avignon for trains onward.

Hôtel Beffroi, Vaison-La-Romaine

Located in the medieval village, this chateau features lovely gardens and a pool. It is in one of the most beautiful 16th century mansions in the Old City of Vaison; you can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. There is no A/C at this hotel.


Chateau de Mazan, Mazan

Located in a small village, this 18th century chateau, now a 4-star hotel boasts large guest rooms, a gourmet restaurant and large outdoor swimming pool. A/C


Hotel Le Jas de Gordes, Gordes

This 4-star hotel just outside of Gordes boasts a heated pool, extensive gardens and comfortable guest rooms. The welcome is warm and service excellent. A/C



			

Trip Reviews

October 26, 2023

“We had a wonderful tour. Our guides were amazing – they looked after us so well, were very knowledgeable and are so personable. Provence was beautiful and we definitely want to go back. The wine tastings were great and I also loved visiting the town markets. Thank you to the team in Vancouver and our guides for an unforgettable holiday!”

October 26, 2023

“On a trip like this, the guides make or break your trip experience. They were friendly, personal, knowledgeable, capable, professional and most of all, fun! The accommodations were unique, clean and varied. I highly recommend this trip for foodies!”

October 26, 2023

“I had a great time and would recommend GE to a friend. The guides were excellent and the meals were very good. The routes were great and the other riders were great people and I really enjoyed getting to know them.”

October 26, 2023

“The accommodations were excellent and the bikes very good. The guides gave lots of options to enable everyone to ride a reasonable distance. The downhill rides from the hilltop villages were wonderful and the downhill ride along the Gorges de la Nesque. The regional food was fantastic. The wine tastings were great and a bonus to see the corkscrew museum and bike museum.”

October 28, 2022

“France was our third trip with GE. We find the guides have always been well informed, fun to be around, and have excellent local knowledge. The hotels and restaurants are always unique and interesting, something we probably would not find on our own. We liked the wine tastings and the nougat (candy) factory. Everyone enjoyed the rides through small towns and villages; the unique hotels and the fantastic food. It is an “overall” experience that all of our kids love.”

October 28, 2022

“The guides definitely exceeded my expectations. I love France and everything about it. Wine tastings were awesome. Really loved the cold drinks and snacks offered at stops and at the end of the riding day – small detail but very much appreciated! My bike was off the charts and the geometry suited me perfectly!! That bike was so light, it basically rode itself.”

October 28, 2022

“All of our guides were incredible. I would love to do another trip with all of them. They were fun, professional and dealt with all of our questions and concerns so well. I can’t say enough good things about them.”

October 28, 2022

“Excellent guides, great value for money, nice touches. Loved the riding. Amazing road conditions (pavement was like butter for the most part) and GORGEOUS sights. The guides were outstanding and amazing at pivoting and adapting to our many (varied) requests from those who wanted longer, harder rides to those looking for something easier. There were more options than our last trip, and people appreciated it. All the accommodations were terrific in their own way. The van was always available and a welcome sight during/after a tough ride with plentiful snacks, nourishment and fixes. Our guides were what made this trip truly special. They were attentive, knowledgeable, responsive, PATIENT, helpful and FUN!”

October 21, 2021

“Great cycling trip. We especially liked the challenge of climbing Mt Ventoux and the incredible Gorges de la Nesque ride! We loved visiting the L’Ilse sur la Sorgue market to pick up provisions for our picnic at Fontaine de Vaucluse, a very unique spot beside the river with towering limestone cliffs. Nice quiet roads, lovely weather and good mix of terrain. RideWithGPS app is very useful. Very good bikes! Vehicle support was very good. We appreciated our Travel Advisor putting this trip together for us on short notice. Our guide exceeded all our expectations!”

May 2, 2019

“We could not have been more delighted. Guides were exceptional. Route, hotels, restaurants also perfect. Did a great job of having something for everyone. Bikes were excellent. It was nice that they were set up with gearing to make the climbs more palatable. We loved the cheese shop & wine tasting in Vaison la Romaine. We have ridden with Great Explorations multiple times in the last few years, and each trip was wonderful. We wanted to do a private trip with friends to celebrate my 60th birthday, and there was no question that we wanted to do it with Great Explorations. They were extremely helpful in helping us pick the destination and planning all the details. Also extremely flexible in accommodating our ideas.”

September 12, 2016

“Spectacular scenery, perfect weather, fantastic food and accommodations.”

September 23, 2012

Overall I would rank it up with one of the best trips we have ever had, everything from the hotels, food, destinations, equipment, guide were all top shelf. We can’t wait to do another one!!!

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